Lots of elephants and a giraffe

Happy new year, team! I hope everyone had a jolly Christmas and a spendid New Year. We had a lovely Christmas at Mr V’s parents’ house with the whole family and then we whipped down to Devon to welcome the new year with my friends.


We swam here on the 1st of January to wash the old year away! It was frrrrrreezing, unsurprisingly.

Anyway, I thought I’d just update with some Christmas sewing I did for the tiny nieces and for the homemade secret santa that we do at New Year.

First up, I made our toddler niece a dress with elephants on it.

Every little thing dress elephants

It’s the Every Little Thing Dress pattern from Schwin Designs, which I bought in their Black Friday sale.

Not going to lie, I pretty much hated sewing this dress. My sewing machine kept ripping thread, my gathering kept messing up, my iron got dirt on the white bit of dress… basically everything that could go wrong, did go wrong! (And most of the things that did go wrong, were my fault either that day or at some point in the past.) Eventually I called it a day, whapped some polka dot bias tape on it to cover some sins and accepted how wonky these elephants are on the back.

Every little thing elephant dress back

I was a bit aware that making clothes for babies and toddlers is more of a present for their parents than the kid themselves, so I wanted to make a simple softie to match the outfits I’d made (the baby niece got these polka dot dungarees).

So, using this Little Softies Zoo Pattern (amazing, so well designed and written!) I made big and little elephants in the same fabrics.

Little Softies elephants

I was happier with how the baby elephant turned out. It really felt like I was short changing the toddler niece as I wasn’t happy with her dress or elephant and I was thrilled with her baby sister’s dungarees and elephant. Oh well, luckily she’s only two so she didn’t care!


I was thrilled to get this message from the nieces’ mum a few days ago: “I spent a long time this morning trying to get a picture of the girls playing with their elephants but they move too much! I hadn’t even set it up, they absolutely love them!” (She really liked the dungarees and dress too!)

I didn’t have much time to make my present for homemade secret santa so I decided to stick with the Little Softies pattern, adding a giraffe to the mix. I made them out of lovely printed felt and did a bit more embroidery on them (as they were for an adult). I still realised that I’d essentially made a 29-year-old a baby toy, but she seemed to like them!

Felt elephant and giraffe

I only managed to snap a picture of these with the iphone after I’d given them, so sorry there’s not much detail.

So that’s the last of my pre-Christmas sewing all caught up! Homemade secret santa marked one year since my first sewing project since school (pyjama cat). It’s been really fun – I’ve loved learning so much and nothing beats the feeling of making a whole new thing out of fabric and thread.

I’m looking forward to sewing a lot more in 2013. I’m also hoping to get a lot more technically proficient and make many more wearable garments.

Making the felt elephant also ignited a new love – hand embroidery – so there might be a bit of that too!

Embroidered flower

I made this last week. The really rough petals and leaves are from before I got the embroidery hoop…

Did you make any Christmas presents this year? I wanted to make more but ran way out of time (I owe Mr V some pyjama shorts!). Next time I’ll start earlier, because I’ve missed my selfish sewing.

21 thoughts on “Lots of elephants and a giraffe

    1. Annabel Vita Post author

      Thanks Michelle! It did look cute on her and hopefully will work as a tunic once she outgrows it as a dress. I’d love to take up knitting one day, your family are very lucky!

  1. Ainhoa Vega

    They’re all adorable!!! You should start an Etsy shop.
    The only thing I made this Christmas were the photos to wood transfers (well, and a couple of desserts, as always…)

    1. Annabel Vita Post author

      But I looove those wood block pictures!
      Maybe one day I’ll start an Etsy shop, but Christmas present making did teach me that I’m very critical of stuff I make for other people, and that takes some of the joy out of it! (Except for the rare occasions where everything goes PERFECTLY).

  2. Kristen

    Everything you made is absolutely adorable! Is it terrible that I wish the dress had a pattern in my size? I’m pretty sure I could live in something like that!

    This year, a lot of people got scarves. I’m on my way to learning how to crochet a cap now so that may be next year’s gift!

    1. Annabel Vita Post author

      Oh, a cap! That’s some pro-level crochet! I also think you can never have too many scarves so that’s a lovely present!
      Thanks for the encouragement Kristen! I totally want to make myself a top out of that elephant fabric (I think I have enough left!), even if it’s a little childish 🙂

    1. Annabel Vita Post author

      Thanks Crystal! It’s so cold that it makes your skin buzz! (It’s the getting dressed on a freezing beach that’s the toughest part!)

  3. Crystal @ 29 Rue House

    I bet! I remember from when I lived in Alaska that some people participated in the “Polar Bear Club” where they jumped into the freezing water like you. I had forgotten that they also did it on New Year’s Day too. I googled it this morning and there was an article that 1000 people did it in Juneau (the capital) with a brisk wind and the water temp was 37 degrees!!

    1. Annabel Vita Post author

      Whoa! In Alaska? At New Year? Crazytown! I just looked up the water temperature where we were for today (didn’t think to do it today) and it was 48.92 – which seems balmy compared to Alaska!

  4. Clair

    Ohh, it’s been far too long since I’ve caught up with you!!

    I would LOVE to get that little giraffe as a grown up gift. And I’m so excited to see your adventures in embroidery.

  5. Pingback: Annabel Vita » Baby trousers! (Winter Pinterest Challenge)

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